MADAGASCAR PHOTO SAFARI
A Cultural Heritage & Photo Journey with Peter Langer
Click to enlarge

Often referred to as the Eighth Continent, the island’s legendary uniqueness is best reflected by its plethora of amazing lemurs, colorful chameleons, endemic birds and fascinating baobabs, all of which combine to make for a truly exceptional photo safari.

On this journey we visit Ambohimanga World Heritage Site, photograph the flora & fauna of the rainforest in Andasibe-Mantadia & Ranomafama national parks, visit Fianarantsoa’s lively market, explore the deep canyons & palm-lined oases of Isalo National Park, capture the famous Avenue of the Baobabs at sunrise and sunset, discover remarkable karstic terrain in Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park and visit local fishing communities along the coast. Above all, we will be aiming to photograph Madagascar’s remarkable creatures, great and small.

Peter has been to Madagascar before. Whilst on tour, we will discuss a wide range of topics, including Madagascar's similarities with Indonesia, the country's unique nature and geography, the animist nature of religion on the island, the French colonial influences, art and architecture, contemporary Malagasy society and of course photography.This will allow us to make our photography of Madagascar’s vast cultural and natural diversity more meaningful. Please be forewarned that Peter is not a camera technician and we kindly request that you know your equipment intimately.


ABOUT PETER LANGER
Peter Langer, one of Canada's leading travel lecturers and photographers. He is a cultural geographer and has travelled to over 160 countries. His photographs have been published by leading magazines worldwide and have been exhibited on several continents. He also has given lectures on cultural anthropology, geography, art, history, travel and tourism subjects in North America, South America, Asia and Europe.

Peter’s photographs have appeared worldwide and have been exhibited on several continents. He has travelled to over 160 countries and his professional photographic material is widely sought after by a large number of publishers, governments and international airlines and tour operators. Peter completed well over 500 audio-visual projects and multi-image presentations for various governments, non-profit organizationS industries.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
1. Many opportunities to photograph Madagascar’s unique ecosystems and unusual life forms 8. Explore the Rainforests of the Atsinanana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
2. Experience the extraordinary natural diversity of Madagascari 9. Look for Golden Bamboo Lemurs in the Ranomafana Rainforest
3. Visit and photograph a variety of the island’s fascinating lemurs 10. Visit Madagascar's 'Grand Canyon' in Isalo National Park
4. Get some fantastic pictures of exotic chameleons and frogs using your macro lens 11. Enjoy meeting the frindly local people at the lively Friday Market in Fianarantsoa
5. Visit the Royal Hill of Ambohimaga, a UNESCO World Heritage Site 12. Photograph fishing communities along the Indian Ocean
6. Explore the remote Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site 13. Enjoy cultural encounters with the Malagasy people, renowned for their exceptional hospitality
7. Two opportunities to photograph the legendary Avenue of the Baobabs 14. Travel in a small group

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Tour Information
Tour Duration : 16 days
Min. Tour Size : 06 persons
Max. Tour Size : 12 persons
Includes international air
Tour Price (from) : US$
Day 01: Oct 01, 2016: Arrive Antananarivo
 
Day 02: Oct 02, 2016: Antananarivo/Ambohimanga/Andasibe
(B, D)
Day 03: Oct 03, 2016: Natural Reserve of Andasibe
(B, D)
Day 04: Oct 04, 2016: Andasibe/Antsirabe
(B, D)
Day 05: Oct 05, 2016: Antsirabe/Ranomafana National Park
(B, D)
Day 06: Oct 06, 2016: Ranomafana National Park
(B, D)
Day 07: Oct 07, 2016: Ranomafana/Fianarantsoa/Isalo
(B, D)
Day 08: Oct 08, 2016: Isalo
(B, BL, D)
Day 09: Oct 09, 2016: Isalo/Ifaty
(B, D)
Day 10: Oct 10, 2016: Ifaty
(B, D)
Day 11: Oct 11, 2016: Ifaty/Tulear/Morondava
(B, D)
Day 12: Oct 12, 2016: Morondava/Kirindy/Bekopaka
(B, D)
Day 13: Oct 13, 2016: Bemaraha National Park, Grands Tsingy
(B, D)
Day 14: Oct 14, 2016: Bemaraha National Park, Small Tsingy
(B, D)
Day 15: Oct 15, 2016: Bekopaka/Morondava
(B, D)
Day 16: Oct 16, 2016: Morondava/Antananarivo (Flight)
(B)
B=Breakfast, BL=BoxLunch, D=Dinner

Day 01: Oct 01, 2016: Arrive Antananarivo

We will be met on arrival to Ivato airport and transferred to our hotel in Antananarivo, where we can relax from our flight and take a swim.  Depending on our arrival time, there may be an opportunity for us to ask the hotel for a visit to the handicrafts market (additional cost).
Overnight: Hotel Royal Palissandre (1 night)

Day 02: Oct 02, 2016: Antananarivo/Ambohimanga/Andasibe

We start our day with a visit of the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, consisting of a royal city, important burial site and an ensemble of sacred places. We then head to Andasibe through the green and luxuriant vegetation of the east. This first step brings us to a very humid part of the country with many primary forests and lakes. Along the way we will see Merina villages in the rocky hills. We arrive at Andasibe in the early evening and check-in to the hotel. Before dinner we embark on a night walk in the area to observe and hopefully photograph the nightly activities of lemurs and other nocturnal animals.
Overnight: Andasibe Hotel or similar (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 03: Oct 03, 2016: Natural Reserve of Andasibe

Morning visit to the Special Reserve of Andasibe to see the Indri Indri, the largest lemurs on the island. This 810 ha reserve is unique with its endemic fauna and flora and contains a wide variety of orchids, canopy, and endemic animals like chameleons, tenrecs, and many birds. After the visit we walk through the orchid park to admire the beautiful flowers. In the afternoon, we visit Andasibe village, which is typical of the Betsimisaraka (“The-Many-Inseparables”) community, the second largest tribe on the island who are known to cultivate rice and live mainly off the forest. This short visit gives us insight to the local people, to see how they live and what they eat. (B, D)

Day 04: Oct 04, 2016: Andasibe/Antsirabe

Today we drive 309 km to Antsirabe via Antanarivo , across the highland landscape with its beautiful rice fields on display. The spectacular eroded hills called ‘lavaka’ remind us of the Far East with its rice fields and green landscape with vegetables and fruit trees. We stop in Ambatolampy for a quick visit to this huge agricultural city, also recognised as a source of aluminium. Arrival in Antsirabe is in the late afternoon. ‘The place of salt’ is an elegant city and known as the centre of the beer industry - we can smell the Star Brewery as we enter the town! Founded by Norwegians in 1856, it is the only place which really feels and looks like a European city. It has a temperate climate and therefore fruit and vegetables which grow in colder climates, are found in Antsirabe.
Overnight: Vatolahy or Royal Palace Hotel, or similar (1 nights) (B, D)

Day 05: Oct 05, 2016: Antsirabe/Ranomafana National Park

After breakfast we drive to Ambositra, the centre of Madagascar's wood carving industry. The highlands are characterized by its unique architecture, as houses are made with ornately carved wooden balconies and shutters with bright colours. Further on we pass the ‘le col de tapia’, a type of tree resistant to bush fires. The landscape is still dominated by very photogenic rice fields, pine forests, eucalyptus trees and rocky hills. We leave the main road to reach our destination for the day: Ranomafana National Park.
Overnight: Setam Lodge or similar (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 06: Oct 06, 2016: Ranomafana National Park

The approximately 40,000 ha of Parc National de Ranomafana with its rain forest covered hills and abundant wildlife, has long been considered one of Madagascar’s highlights, and is one of the country’s most visited national parks. Its entrance lies about 7 km from Ranomafana village and altitudes in the Park Range from 800 m to 1200 m. In addition to its densely forested hills, Ranomafana’s terrain is characterised by numerous small streams which plummet down to the beautiful Namorona River. Although much of the region has been logged, the park retains relatively large areas of primary forest. We will go for long walks in the National Park spotting some of the lemurs, chameleons and other animals. Before dinner we go on a walk in the area around our hotel trying to spot the nocturnal wildlife. (B, D)

Day 07: Oct 07, 2016: Ranomafana/Fianarantsoa/Isalo

We drive to Fianarantsoa, the capital of the Betsileo tribes and important centre of the catholic religion. We stop in the city and visit the bustling Friday farmer’s market for some excellent people photography. We then travel southwards, with our first stop in Ambalavao, where we visit a local winery and the ‘Anteimoro Paper Factory’ which is a vestige of the Arabian civilisation on the island. We continue to the Anja Community Reserve to photograph ring-tailed lemurs (Lemurian Catta), chameleons and various bird species. In the past, visitors fed the lemurs, so the majority of the animals are unafraid to come near us to pose for photographs. We continue to Ihosy, capital of the Bara tribes, who are shepherds of Zebu, and further on pass through the mountain chain of Andringitra, which serves as a transition between the dry south and green highlands with its very spectacular granite rock formations. We pass through the huge ‘Plateaux de Horombe’ with its very deep red soil, which makes for spectacular photographs of the countryside before our arrival in Isalo.
Overnight: Jardin du Roy, or similar (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 08: Oct 08, 2016: Isalo

Today we explore Isalo National Park. The park is known for its wide variety of terrain, including sandstone formations, deep canyons, palm-lined oases, and grassland. After a 10 minute drive from Ranohira village, we park our vehicle and walk about 1½ hours to reach the Natural Swimming Pool. Along the way we will see vegetation like Uapaca bojeri, Pachypodium rosulatum or ‘elephant's foot’ and Aloe isaloensis, a native species of aloe endemic to Isalo. The eroded mountains also served as a place where the Bara kept their dead before they could bury them in their actual tombs. We start our climb and reach the massif after walking about 20 minutes, where we will have a spectacular view of the huge sandstone mountains with strange and battered formations creating many different images. We see small streams of water, and rivers which are marked by lines of brilliant green, generally made up of numerous Pandanus pulcher and the delicate, slim-stemmed, feathery leaved palms. Along the way, there may be sifakas, brown lemurs and ring-tailed lemurs, as well as fifty-five species of birds, lizards and snakes. We finally reach the swimming pool, with its crystal clear water - a great reward after a long and very hot walk. We also will visit the Namazaha Waterfall to enjoy a picnic lunch on this day. Here we might have the possibility to photograph lemurs up close and personal. (B, BL, D)

Day 09: Oct 09, 2016: Isalo/Ifaty

After breakfast, we continue to Tuléar, the terminal of the National Road N° 7. This part of our journey brings us to new scenery among the dry forests of the west and the spiny desert of the south. On the way, we admire the different ‘Mahafaly tombs’ and the ‘Antandroy tombs’. After a short visit of Tuléar we drive to Ifaty, which lies in the driest part of the country. Situated in the Deep South, the landscape is dominated by the cactus-like, spiny forest of different euphorbiaceae and didieraceae. We will cross the dry and sandy soil where the local people battle to find drinking water. Mangrove trees line the coast alternated by Vezo communities which earn their living from fishing. We will see many small pirogues with men who go out fishing twice a day, while children and women wait on the coast to collect the fish before taking them to Tuléar for sale.
Overnight: Le Paradisier, or similar (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 10: Oct 10, 2016: Ifaty

Ifaty lies on the beach. It is therefore an ideal place for diving and snorkelling and a popular place for birdwatchers. Here we can also experience the Vezo fishermen's life. Many excursions are possible on this leisure day. Visit the ‘Reserve Domergue’, a communal conservation area where one will see two kinds of baobabs, spiny bush, reptiles like ‘boa madagascariensis’, geckos and the ‘chameleon parsoni’, which is one of the largest chameleons in the world. Situated in the largest lagoon of the country, Ifaty is also protected by a large coral reef, which makes it an ideal place for diving and snorkelling. In the afternoon we can walk to the village of Mangily to visit a local school and experience the Vezo fishermen's way of life, especially as they return from fishing. (B, D)

Day 11: Oct 11, 2016: Ifaty/Tulear/Morondava

We will be transferred to the airport for our short flight to Morondava, where we will be met and transferred to the city. Morondava is situated in the heart of Sakalava territory and is known for the royal sculpted tombs of the Menabe ancestors. These tombs are frequently decorated with well-executed, often erotic, funerary carvings representing life and fertility.
Overnight:Pallisandre Côte Ouest & Spa or similar (B, D)
Please note
that the schedules of Air Madagascar are not published well in advance and can change at the very last minute. There is also a possibility that we might have to fly to Antananarivo to connect to our flight to Morondava.

Day 12: Oct 12, 2016: Morondava/Kirindy/Bekopaka

Today is a long day of discovery and adventure! We set out early to visit the Kirindy Reserve stopping along the way to photograph the beauty of the famous Baobab Avenue at sunrise. In Kirindy we have the capture 7 species of lemurs, including the fat-tailed lemur and the tiny Pygmy Mouse lemur, believed to be the world’s smallest primate. Kirindy is the best place to see the giant jumping rat as well as the Fossa (Madagascar's largest predator), and we can also photograph various spiny tenrecs, birds and reptiles. The diverse flora here includes three of the six endemic Malagasy baobabs. After exploring Kirindy we travel north to Tsimafana where we take the ferry across to Belo sur Tsiribihina. After another road transfer, we will arrive in Bekopaka in the evening. Please note that it is a very long driving day due to poor and bumpy road conditions.
Overnight: Soleil Du Tsingy or similar (3 nights) (B, D)

Day 13: Oct 13, 2016: Bemaraha National Park, Grands Tsingy

Today we visit the Bemaraha National Park to explore the Grands Tsingy. A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1990, the area has a unique geography, well preserved mangrove forests and some amazing bird and lemur species. We will trek throughout the park. The karst landscape and deciduous forest are a refuge for rare and endangered species and in the park there are over 11 lemur species, 90 bird species and 50 reptile species, some of which we might be lucky to spot on our hikes throughout the reserve. The Grands Tsingy is famed for its pinnacles, a forest of limestone pillars and limestone plateau. Some of its needles are several hundred metres high! We spend the day exploring this magnificent geological site. Please note that this visit requires climbing on narrow steep paths and we will need to hold on to handrails.  We will need to have decent backpacks for our cameras as we need free hands for parts of the climb and we suggest leaving any big telephoto lenses behind for this portion, since it is all about the panoramic views. (B, D)

Day 14: Oct 14, 2016: Bemaraha National Park, Small Tsingy

This morning we will head to Belo sur Tsiribihina and onto visit the Manambolo gorge, home to many interesting rock formations. We travel by dug-out canoe to see the Tombs of the Vazimba tribe from the river. These ancient people were the original inhabitants of Madagascar and grew no more than one metre tall.  We spend the afternoon visiting the small Tsingy in the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park. (B, D)

Day 15: Oct 15, 2016: Bekopaka/Morondava

After breakfast, we head back to Morondava by 4x4. We will travel through the small town of Belo-sur-Tsiribihina and pass the Sakalava tribe tombs. En-route we stop to visit the stunning Baobab Alley again, but this time at sunset for even better photos! We arrive in Morondava in the early evening for our farewell dinner.
Overnight: Pallisandre Côte Ouest & Spa or similar (B, D)

Day 16: Oct 16, 2016: Morondava/Antananarivo (Flight)

Early in the morning we are transfer to the airport for the flight back to Antananarivo, where our tour ends. Please note that Air Madagascar are known for changing flight times at late notice and schedules rarely allow for same day connections. We suggest to book an extra night of hotel in Antananarivo, should your international flight not depart in the evening. (B)

PETER LANGER’S PHOTOGRAPHY NOTES:

I invite you to create emotional photography that captures Madagascar as it truly is. Discover a beautiful country that is filled with magic created by natural light. Experience remarkable and memorable moments that happen unexpectedly, which makes for unforgettable images that stimulate the senses and emotions. I have been travelling to Madagascar since 2005 and invite you to join me on a journey exploring diverse natural landscapes, ancient archaeological sites, remarkable colonial architecture, friendly people and amazing food.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at: info@peterlanger.com or call me at 604-984-2811.

Photographic equipment
Even if you only pack a smartphone, we take you to locations where it is impossible to take a bad photo. That being said, if you want to get the best out of your trip, I recommend taking gear you are comfortable and familiar with. I recommend bringing along a DSLR or a mirror-less camera with interchanging lenses.

Madagascar is a diverse place meaning you will probably use a variety of different focal lengths. When it comes to lenses, you should take into consideration weight, versatility, lens speed and cost, did I mention weight? My suggestion is you take at least a wide angle zoom and a telephoto zoom. You definitely should consider taking a macro-lens or macro extnsion tubes for the photography of many chameleons, geckos and insects. If you are considering packing a 300 mm lens or longer, you would very likely use it to shoot lemurs in the treetops and of course birds.

What Photo Accessories Should I Bring?
I think that no matter what you’re shooting, even a smartphone, you might want to bring a tripod. You will likely want a polarizing filter in the mountains to make the most out of the landscapes. A gradient ND filter, and a polarizer will definitely come in handy. If you love taking close-ups and for macrophotography, I recommend bringing a ring flash

To find photographic accessories in Madagascar is actually extremely difficult, if not impossible. Before leaving North America, please ensure that you are bringing the following with you:

  • Extra memory cards
  • Batteries
  • Battery charger
  • Power adapter
  • Cleaning gear for lenses & for sensor
  • Filters
  • Flash
  • Tripod

Can I Rent Photography Gear?
To rent gear in Madagascar is nearly impossible and extremely costly. If you need to rent lenses or camera bodies please do this before joining the tour Please be forewarned that Peter is not a camera technician and will not be able to help you with a piece of equipment that you are not familiar with, sorry.

Should I Bring a Laptop?
That all depends on how much editing you want to do on the road. Remember that I will be offering some photo editing sessions and critiques along the way. Thus, if you want some help during those sessions, it really helps if you have your own laptop, or at the very least a tablet, so we can look at your images together. Personally I think that having a laptop is fundamental when it comes to backing up your images. I also use backup portable hard drives.

Physical Fitness
This is a fairly minimum activity level tour. I’ve done this tour with passengers of varying fitness levels, they all get by. That said, to really enjoy the tour you should at least be prepared for some climbing on narrow steep paths in the Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve and for uneven walks in the rainforest of Madagascar.

Will there be any 1-on-1 Sessions?
In the evenings I will be happy to offer one-on-one photo editing and critique sessions with tour members. During breakfast every morning although a pre-shoot discussion will take place. Out in the field I won’t be giving many instructions to the group, however I will point out great shots the very moment I see them, as it is all about the sharing of the beauty of the moment.

Tips on People Photography
I do not ‘pay’ people for letting me take their photo. This is something that different photographers have different criteria. Personally it doesn’t feel quite right, as it only encourages the locals to start posing and start demanding money, without being asked to do so. In the case of children I feel very strongly that we should refrain from handing out well-meaning gifts, since we only create a horrendous beggar culture that will start demand bonbons, pens or cadeaux (gifts).
When it comes to photographing strangers in Madagascar it is super easy, as the local will welcome it with broad smiles. I generally shoot first and ask questions later, however if someone says no or I notice the person to feel uncomfortable being photographed, I do respect their wishes.

Sunrise at Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu doesn’t open until 6:00 AM and sunrise is shortly thereafter. We will try to catch the very first bus up to the ruins, which means that we will be getting up very early. That being said, often low-lying clouds or mist cover the Machu Picchu ruins, which burn up later in the day. As a note of interest albeit we catch the bus up to Machu Picchu in the morning, we will most likely be on the site before the hikers that went on the Inca Trail.

Language
Malagasy and French are the official languages of the state and English is rarely spoken. Our local guiide will negotiate with the locals where necessary. That being said, if you can learn a little bit of French, it’ll really help with the communication between you and the locals.

Visas
All foreign visitors to the Republic of Madagascar require entry visas. For short visits (90 days or less), every visitor, regardless of nationality, can obtain a visa upon arrival at the airport in Antananarivo, provided the visitor's passport is valid for at least 6 months beyond the last day of the intended stay in Madagascar, and provided the visitor carries an airline-issued ticket or passenger receipt confirming the visitor's intention to leave Madagascar within 90 days.

B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Departure Dates
English Speaking Departures (Please contact us for information on French, German, Italian and Spanish speaking departures).

2016

October 01

Tour Price

We accept payment in US $ (US Dollars), CA $ (Canadian Dollars) or equivalent EURO (for clients outside North America). Bestway Tours & Safaris offers conversion rate protection. Once full payment has been received, and no modification has been made to the tour itinerary, we will honour that rate. For complete payment procedures, please click here

Departure(s) Per Person on Twin Sharing Single Room Supplement
Oct 01, 2016 US$ 5750 US$ 790
Combine Los Cities & Treasures of Northern Peru with In the Footsteps of the Incas tours and received an immediate discount of US$ 300 if booked simultaneously.


Notes

These tours are open to photographers or photography lovers of all levels, from amateurs using their smartphone to seasoned professionals with all their sophisticated gear. Our photographic journeys are designed to get participants into unique, engaging locations at the optimum times for photography. Peter Langer was personally involved in the development of each tour, as particular attention needed to be paid to the specific needs of photographers, something that would be nearly impossible when traveling on your own for the first time, or with larger group tours. We travel more slowly than typical tours, providing our tour guests the opportunity to understand the culture and customs of a particular location. This carefully crafted itinerary has been designed to ensure that we will be able to photograph the wildlife at leisure, resulting in memorable interactions wherever we travel.



Inclusions


Tour Price Includes
  • Accommodation as mentioned or similar, including hotel taxes
  • 30 Meals as mentioned (B=Breakfast, BL=BoxLunch, D=Dinner)
  • All sightseeing and transfers as per the Itinerary
  • Services of local English speaking guides/drivers
  • Entrance fees to national parks and sites included in the itinerary
  • Transportation in comfortable tourist vehicles
  • Personally escorted by Peter Langer from Antanarivo
Not Included
  • International airfares to Madagascar
  • Domestic air fares in Madagascar (Tulear-Mondorova & Mondorova-Antananarivo). Please note that if you fly internationally to Madagascar on Air Madagascar, there is a reduction of 50% on domestic air fares within Madagascar.  Contact ask us if you need assistance
  • Individual camera fees at national parks, which are payable locally
  • Drinks during meals
  • Meals not expressly stated
  • Extras at the bar, in laundry, in phone, etc.
  • Early check-in in case the international flight arrives in the morning
  • Airport/Departure taxes
  • Insurance/visas
  • Tips/gratuities

Estimated International Airfare (International airfare is NOT included in this tour)

CANADA(West Coast)
US$ 1800

USA(West Coast)
US$ 1600

CANADA(East Coast)
US$ 1700

USA(East Coast)
US$ 1500

Participants

This tour operates on a minimum of 06 and a maximum of 12 participants.
We have limited our group size to a maximum of 12 participants. By virtue of this small group size, we can guarantee our guests a more rewarding and fulfilling experience. Additionally, with such small groups, we are able to give more personalized attention to each tour guest and we can be more flexible with each day’s plan, adjusting to conditions and events that present themselves. The small group sizes also means that we spend less time organizing everyone for activities. Photographic interaction between our tour guests and the local people is also more easily facilitated.

Customised Itinerary

If you would like to have a tour on dates other than the above ones or with a customised itinerary, please contact us and we will be happy to work out an exclusive program for you.

Contact Info
You may e-mail us at bestway@bestway.com or call 1-604-264-7378. Residents of U.S.A./Canada may call us toll free at 1-800-663-0844.